Champagne Spotlight | Larmandier-Bernier, Vertus

by Jack Chapman

A tiny part of the wine market as a whole (as explored in Charles Lea’s blog here), grower Champagne has a disproportionate share of characterful, remarkable wines, thanks to the passionate vignerons behind the wines. We’re shining a spotlight on our portfolio of grower champagnes this year, each month highlighting a different producer – this month: Larmandier-Bernier.

Larmandier Bernier vineyard

There is still yet to be a year, here at Lea & Sandeman, where we have had enough of Larmandier Bernier’s ‘Latitude’ to last us until Christmas. That said, we still cannot resist shouting about just how outstanding it is.

If you are, and have been, a loyal purchaser of Larmandier’s wines since we started working with them in 2006, then you will be aware that in recent years, the proverbial cat has escaped from the bag.

They were once just the provision of those in the know, but with the ever-growing interest in product provenance, people are eschewing their brand labels and turning to wine like this – small production, made by masters of their craft, who farm their own vines.

My word, are they masters of their craft. Larmandier are now famous for their ability to bottle Chardonnay. That sort of life-affirming Chardonnay, which makes you wonder why you bother with any other grape.

Latitude is named for its generosity and breadth. Whilst you still have the citrus, mineral and chalk of the Côte des Blancs, they have also imbued this Champagne with flavours that are so seductive.

Lemon cheesecake, acacia honey, warm buttered bread.

It is spring blossom and summer decadence, translated into the glass.

 

LARMANDIER-BERNIER 'Latitude' Extra Brut NVLARMANDIER-BERNIER ‘Latitude’ Extra Brut

France, Champagne
Chardonnay | 12.5%
Low-dosage, Bio-dynamic, Practising Organic

“100% Chardonnay which all come from the same latitude, south of Vertus. Grapes picked as ripe as possible. Pressed, lightly clarified and then into wooden vats and casks. Spontaneous fermentation and natural malo. Aged on lees for the first year without fining or filtering. 40% of this wine comes from the estate’s perpetual reserve started in 2004. Sur lattes for at least two years. Each bottle is disgorged by hand. Smells like lemon cheesecake. There is a seductive cultured-sour-cream richness made piquant by citron fragrance and the piercing, bitter-lifted-oil-perfume of pomelo. Acacia honey daubed onto every small, firm bubble and so the wine feels incredibly silky smooth with a smoke-and-mirrors sense of weight and weightlessness.”

17 | Tamlyn Currin, JancisRobinson

£57.95 single bottle
£53.95 in a full or mixed case of 6
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